Women in Tech: Akanksha Priyadarshini

Bravery is being the only one who knows you’re afraid. — Franklin P. Jones From being an inexperienced final year tech student to being an engineer at grofers, I have been afraid many times; scared to step out of my comfort zone; worried I might fail in a new situation. However, the intention to grow always found a […]

Bravery is being the only one who knows you’re afraid. — Franklin P. Jones

From being an inexperienced final year tech student to being an engineer at grofers, I have been afraid many times; scared to step out of my comfort zone; worried I might fail in a new situation.

However, the intention to grow always found a way to push me forward. Every time I managed to do something which I thought wasn’t possible, I realized how important the first step was.

My first experience

I was in my final year of engineering when I started working full-time. The decision to manage my education remotely and work in a stealth mode startup was a scary one. I decided to attend college only for my examinations and devote the rest of my time to building a product and learning how systems connect in real life. To be honest, it was tough and overwhelming. The learning curve was very steep and there were many things I had no idea about. A lot of tech jargon and unknowns always kept me on edge.

I believe that this is what made the experience more exciting and shaped the engineer in me. I also realized it was okay to be afraid and anxious while stepping out of your comfort zone. The more we try to hide from it, the tighter it grips us. So, instead of focusing on what I didn’t know, I started focusing on what I was learning.

A new journey with Grofers

Joining grofers was one of the biggest decisions I have ever made. Having worked with early-stage startups with teams of smaller sizes, my professional growth happened in a different culture. Grofers was a big shift in terms of exposure to tech and business challenges. I was unsure if it would work out for me. After reading more about the company and connecting with people on LinkedIn, I decided to give it an honest effort. And I am really glad I did!

From the interview process to the current day, it has been amazing to meet people with diverse skill sets and learn from them. The transition to a new kind of work culture wasn’t as difficult as I had anticipated. I joined the Logistics team in Supply Engineering where I felt comfortable in expressing my opinions and asking questions. It was never difficult to connect with my team members for queries and doubts despite the virtual limitations. Pair programming worked like a charm and enabled me to contribute to projects early.

We recently started experimenting with faster deliveries at some stores. Ranging over a few weeks, the experiment was to be conducted in multiple stages. At first, I was nervous to be a part of the project but I volunteered because of the tremendous learning opportunity it offered. Handling this turned out to be a refreshing and different experience from my past work. Getting the team together, segregating responsibilities, carving out a quick implementation plan, and bringing everything together before the deadline was thrilling.

Yes to initiatives beyond work

For me, growth has never been just about engineering and shipping features. I also want opportunities to invest in other areas of interest. So, when Sancheeta, our Engineering Manager, approached me with the idea to form a Communications team at grofers, I was intrigued. The intention behind it was to bring everyone in the organization in sync with what’s happening across functions. I was excited to explore creative ways to keep the interaction active between the teams.

There were so many unknowns. We didn’t know what would work and what wouldn’t. Our mind quickly gets anxious when there are more questions than answers. At such times, it’s important to define the first checkpoint you want to achieve. A sense of direction simplifies the doubts in the mind and makes it easier to begin.

For our initiative, we added a few more people to our team. We ideated, planned, and worked together and as the first step towards our goal, launched the Supply Engineering Newsletter called Synapse.

This also allowed me to connect with people from different teams whom I hadn’t directly worked with before. It provided great exposure to the tech and business problems faced by other functions and their respective approaches to the solution. My understanding of the organization and the kind of challenges we aspire to solve has widened. Joining the Communications team also gave me the opportunity to work on my leadership skills, take up new roles and explore the creative aspect of my personality. The experience became even more delightful when I published one of my poems in the newsletter and got appreciated for it.

Conclusion

“Trying and getting hurt can’t possibly be worse for you than being… stuck.” — Eliezer Yudkowsky

It has been just over six months and I have had opportunities to work on a diverse set of challenges. The constant learning and growth motivate me to keep getting better. Unknowns are definitely scary but saying yes to them has always been surprising. It’s the idea of discovering new strengths in myself that has been the driving force and not the fear of failure. With these beliefs, I have been able to break the limits set up in my own mind.

To summarise, these are the two things which have helped me the most.

  • Accepting that it’s okay to make mistakes so long as you have the will to do better the next time.
  • Investing in high ownership. Ownership is never easy. There’s always going to be the risk of falling over the edge. But if you don’t do it, you will never reach your potential.

“If you dare nothing,
then when the day is over,
nothing is all you will have gained.”
Neil Gaiman, The Graveyard Book

Akanksha is an SDE-2 at Grofers. She works with Supply Engineering. Follow her on LinkedIn.


Women in Tech: Akanksha Priyadarshini was originally published in Lambda on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Source: Grofers